Alisson stunner keeps Liverpool in top-four hunt

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Alisson scores for Liverpool
The goal is, as you may imagine, the first Alisson has scored in his career

Goalkeeper Alisson scored an incredible injury-time winner as Liverpool claimed a significant victory in their quest to achieve a Premier League top-four finish by coming from behind to beat West Brom.

With three points a must and just seconds left of a game in which the visitors had been frustrated by an obstinate and disciplined Baggies, the Brazilian keeper came up for a corner.

It was surely the Reds’ final chance to snatch the win and so it proved as Alisson rose to glance Trent Alexander-Arnold’s delivery into the far corner of the net to send the away side into delirium.

In an example of extraordinary timing, it is the first time a goalkeeper has scored a competitive goal for Liverpool in their entire history, dating back to 1892.

The stunning moment takes the Reds just a point and a place behind Chelsea in fourth and three points worse off than third-placed Leicester with two games to go.

That the Blues and Foxes face each other in their next league game gives Jurgen Klopp’s side a huge opportunity to take control of their own destiny in the race for Champions League qualification when they travel to Burnley on Wednesday.

Things had got off to a terrible start for the reigning champions at the Hawthorns with Hal Robson-Kanu capping his first Premier League start since December 2017 with a neat side-foot finish to give West Brom the lead.

A typically incisive Mohamed Salah finish brought the visitors level, with the Egyptian’s low shot inside the far post taking him to 22 goals for the season, level with Harry Kane at the top of the scoring charts.

With Roberto Firmino firing against the woodwork, Sadio Mane seeing a finish ruled out for offside and others profligate in front of goal, it looked as though the Reds had blown their chance.

But Alisson’s big moment keeps them firmly in the hunt.

“I just tried to run into a good place and be there to try and help my players, to bring a defender, but no one followed me and I am lucky and blessed, sometimes things you can’t explain,” Alisson told Sky Sports.

“You can’t explain a lot of things in my life, the only reason is God and he put his hand on my head today and I’m feeling very blessed.”

He also paid an emotional tribute to his late father, who drowned, aged 57, in February.

“I’m too emotional, this last month for everything that has happened with me and my family, but football is my life, I played since I can remember with my father,” he added.

“I hope he was here to see it, I’m sure he is celebrating with God at his side.”

Alisson makes Liverpool history

Liverpool have enjoyed some wonderful and dramatic moments during Klopp’s time as manager, from Champions League comebacks to crucial late goals en route to a first top-flight title success in 30 years.

Alisson’s header is right up there with the best of them and will live long in the memory of Reds fans.

This will especially be the case if it ultimately leads to qualification for the Champions League. It cannot be understated how crucial the moment is, in this regard.

Ahead of the corner, the Reds were facing the very real prospect of a Europa League spot as their only reward at the end of a difficult and, in parts, dire season by their own high standards.

At the final whistle, once the away side had finished mobbing their goalkeeper, they were able to reflect upon a situation that is now firmly in their own hands.

For so much of the second half at the Hawthorns, Klopp’s side huffed and puffed without wobbling West Brom’s door a millimetre. Driving runs went nowhere, passes led to blind alleys and, when they came, shots too often hit the stand behind the goal.

Salah had done his bit in the first-half, but was well marshalled in the second, Mane continues to be a shadow of his former self and the midfield failed to play with the speed and precision required to pick open a very well-drilled defence.

What does it matter, though, when you have a goalkeeper who can pick his moment and head a ball as Alisson showed right at the death?

A get-out-jail card? Possibly. A wake-up call for the last two games? Probably. Something to add to a long list of magical Premier League moments? Definitely.

Liverpool have now scored 38 winning goals in the 90th minute or later of a Premier League game. That’s 13 more than any other team in Premier League history.

Few of them could prove as important as this.

Baggies seconds from frustrating Reds again

West Brom have few positives to take away from this season, but they were agonisingly close to frustrating the champions for a second time in the campaign, having drawn at Anfield in late December.

They spent large periods on the back foot, but had their attacking moments, most notably Robson-Kanu’s neat finish following a pass from the again impressive Matheus Pereira.

The Brazilian has now either scored (10) or assisted (six) 16 of West Brom’s 33 Premier League goals this season (48.5%); with only Harry Kane for Tottenham (55.6%) directly involved in a higher ratio for his side.

When the Baggies come to rebuild in the summer, they are unlikely to be short of suitors should they wish to offload their star man.

Albion also thought they had snatched the win themselves when Kyle Bartley poked in from a corner, but it was ruled out with an offside Matt Phillips obstructing Alisson’s view from a corner.

“If down at Stockley Park they said that’s right then that’s nonsense,” boss Sam Allardyce told the BBC. “If they say the referee or the linesman disallowed that goal it’s a disgrace. There is no interference with the goalkeeper whatsoever.

“All those things people say they have to do to stop the goalkeeper saving it. If there was nobody there he still wouldn’t have saved it. It’s baffling.”

More to follow.

Player of the match

AlissonAlisson

West Bromwich Albion

  1. Squad number4Player nameRobson-Kanu

  2. Squad number1Player nameJohnstone

  3. Squad number5Player nameBartley

  4. Squad number2Player nameFurlong

  5. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Pereira

  6. Squad number6Player nameAjayi

  7. Squad number10Player namePhillips

  8. Squad number14Player nameTownsend

  9. Squad number18Player nameGallagher

  10. Squad number35Player nameYokuslu

  11. Squad number30Player nameMaitland-Niles

  12. Squad number11Player nameDiangana

  13. Squad number8Player nameLivermore

  14. Squad number29Player nameGrant

Line-ups

West Brom

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Johnstone
  • 2Furlong
  • 6Ajayi
  • 5Bartley
  • 14Townsend
  • 10Phillips
  • 18Gallagher
  • 35YokusluSubstituted forLivermoreat 75′minutes
  • 11DianganaSubstituted forMaitland-Nilesat 73′minutes
  • 12Costa Pereira
  • 4Robson-KanuSubstituted forGrantat 82′minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Robinson
  • 8Livermore
  • 17Diagne
  • 22Peltier
  • 25Button
  • 27O’Shea
  • 29Grant
  • 30Maitland-Niles
  • 45Gardner-Hickman

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 47Phillips
  • 46R WilliamsSubstituted forWijnaldumat 84′minutes
  • 26Robertson
  • 6Thiago Alcántara
  • 3Fabinho
  • 17JonesSubstituted forShaqiriat 59′minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 9Firmino
  • 10Mané

Substitutes

  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 13Adrián
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 27Origi
  • 58Woodburn
  • 65Clarkson
  • 76N Williams
  • 89Koumetio

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